Fentanyl deaths impact Rutherford County families

This article appeared in the July 17 print edition of the Rutherford Courier. The text from the article was extracted from a scan of the print article to make it easier to read.

By Scott Carpenter

Bill’s CREEK — Fentanyl is potent opioid drug, considered 50 times more powerful than heroin. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were over 107,00 drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2022. and 2/3 were fentanyl related.

Fentanyl affects every corner of the United States including Rutherford County. A nonprofit group called Forgotten Victims of Fentanyl is working to raise awareness of fentanyl in order to prevent more people deaths. Maria Deckert is spearheading the effort in Rutherford County. The local organization is aligned with other similar groups across North Carolina.

Forgotten Victims of Fentanyl is hosting meeting on Sunday, August 6, from 2-4 p.m. at Bill’s Creek Community Center, 1978 Club House Road, Lake Lure.  This meeting is for families and friends of those who have died from fentanyl overdoses.  And it is for anyone with an interest in learning more about the fentanyl problem.  Deckert said Monday. “We want to Come together, and share our stories.  We want to help saves by informing the public about the dangers of fentanyl.”

For Deckert who lives in Rutherford County, this is personal.  Her son, Robert Deckert, was 33 years old when he died in Florida just over four years ago.  He had struggled with drug abuse for several years but was going through rehabilitation.

“I don’t want to see others die like he did.  I don’t want other families to go through the grief that we are going through,” Deckert said. 

Since 2013. more than 13,600 in North Carolina have been killed by fentanyl.  Statistics indicate there been 84 fentanyl related deaths in Rutherford County over the past nine years.

“This means there are 84 families that are permanently damaged by fentanyl,” Deckert said.

For the same period 57 fentanyl deaths in Cleveland County and 50 fentanyl deaths in McDowell County.

Eckert says fentanyl has killed not only active drug users but people who have accidentally come into contact with the drug.

“Fentanyl does not discriminate,” she said.  “Fentanyl kills babies, toddlers, middle schoolers and high schoolers, college students young adults.”

In order to better combat the fentanyl problem, Eckert says more people need to be made aware of it.

“We want to prevent more fentanyl deaths,” she said.

For more information about the Forgotten Victims of Fentanyl meeting, call 828-291-7951

You can find the original article on the Rutherford Courier website however it requires a subscription to access it.

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